If you are injured in an auto accident, slip and fall, or another scenario in Massachusetts, there are financial resources available. Personal injury claims can help MA residents pay for medical bills, any lost wages, get compensated for pain and suffering, and get back on their feet.
Statute of Limitations
Massachusetts has a statute of limitations of THREE YEARS to file a personal injury claim. This means that you will have three years from the date of the incident to file your claim.
- The only exception to this rule is if you find an injury years after the incident occurred
- Claims against a city of government must be completed in TWO YEARS
Motor Vehicle Insurance and MA
Massachusetts is one of a dozen states that uses no-fault auto insurance. This means that in the case of a car crash, parties file claims with their insurance companies, not against the other party. The only way to file a personal injury claim against another party is by meeting one of the following exceptions:
- You have more than $2,000 in medical expenses
- You became permanently disfigured
- You broke a bone
- You suffered from hearing loss
- You suffered from a loss of vision
Once one of these exceptions is met, someone can file a personal injury claim against the insurance company of the other party. These suits can ONLY be filed if the other party was at fault for the crash.
Who is at Fault for an Accident in MA
Massachusetts uses comparative fault in dealing with personal injury claims, which means that both parties, even the injured person, can be found partially to blame for an accident. So long as you share less than 50% of the fault for an accident, you are still eligible for filing a personal injury claim. The portion of fault shared by you will be taken out of your awarded damages. EXAMPLE:
Ginny Finny was driving on I-93 when she was rear-ended. Her head smashed into the steering wheel, breaking her nose. She filed a personal injury claim against the other driver’s insurance company. Ginny was not wearing her seatbelt when she was injured. Not wearing a seat belt is legal in MA, but the judge determined that her injuries would not have been as severe if she had been wearing her seat belt. Ginny was found 20% responsible for the injuries. The court awarded her $10,000, but the payment was reduced to $8,000 due to Ginny’s comparative fault.
A Previous Massachusetts Personal Injury Claim
According to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, one of the biggest settlements in Massachusetts in 2012 was Lin v. Cheng et al. Lin filed a personal injury suit about Cheng. Lin was in his own driveway when Cheng struck Lin with his van. The court ruled in Lin’s favor and awarded him 1.27 million in damages for his pain and suffering.
Damage Caps in Massachusetts
For the most part, Massachusetts does not set any damage caps for personal injury claims. The only exception to this rule is in medical malpractice cases, where the damage cap is $500,000 for non-economic damages. This cap is ignored if the claimant can prove any one of the following:
- The claimant suffered from a permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function
- The claimant became permanently disfigured
- Any special circumstances that would prove that $500,000 is too low for the claimant